Friday Unwind #3: The Woman King, The Grand Canyon and Sheridan House Inn, Heart Art
And Book Review: There's No Coming Back From This
This is where Friday meets you on the way to life’s little pleasures. Reviews, recommendations, thoughts, and your comments to share with multiple generations.
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🎬 MOVIE REVIEW: The Woman King
The last movie that I watched starring Viola Davis was “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (2020). She was magical as a blues singer in 1920’s Chicago. Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 97%. Ok, I’m not reviewing that right now…but it’s definitely worth your time.
Viola Davis is one of just a few actors to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. The evening that I watched The Woman King, I was in the mood for action. The Woman King delivered. And so did Viola Davis.
Travel back in time to the 1800’s and the African Kingdom of Dahomey. A fierce unit of female warriors, called the Agojie, protected the kingdom. Their leader…General Nanisca (Viola Davis).
The movie is loosely inspired by true events. The Kingdom of Dahomey existed from about 1600 until 1904 when it became French Dahomey. The Agojie were an all female military unit from the 17th century until the late 19th century.
Under General Nanisca’s leadership, the Agojie convince their king to fight for the freedom of all people, ending the slave trade in their region.
I loved Viola Davis’ performance. Her character explores a huge range of emotions, from violence to tenderness.
If you like non-stop action, a look at history and great performances, give The Woman King a try.
🚂 GRAND CANYON RAILROAD AND SHERIDAN HOUSE INN
Let’s start with the Grand Canyon because….well, it’s one of the 7 Wonders of the World. And, it’s just 125 miles from my house. Have you been there?
We’ve visited twice, once driving out the rather bumpy, two lane road to the park and once, taking the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, Arizona. Either way, you need a park pass to get in (just a tip for anyone planning the trip 💚).
On our last trip we spent two nights at the Sheridan House Inn, which sits high up on a pine tree filled hill, just about a mile from the train depot. We’ve been there before. We go back for the charm, the hot tub that comes with our room, and mostly for the delicious meals prepared by innkeeper/chef Mark Santy and his wife, Debbie. I’m usually a chocoholic, but Mark’s creme brulee makes me want to start my dinner with dessert. I would share a picture of our hot tub, but, well, you know….it’s personal. 🛀
The Grand Canyon Railway leaves at 9:30am, but get there at least a half hour ahead so you can watch the wild west show 🤠. You’ll see those same wranglers later, when they ‘rob’ you on the train. 💰 Have some loose change handy.
El Tovar Hotel opened its doors in 1905. It’s expensive. The rooms are old and they remind me a little of my grandmother’s closet. But…it’s at the edge of the canyon. If you don’t like staying in my grandmother’s closet, at least try to have lunch there. Reservations. Reservations. Reservations.
Have you been to the Grand Canyon? What was your experience like? If you’re thinking about a trip there, what would you like to know?
❣ HEART ART
Earlier this month I spent two weeks at the beach in Oceanside, California. As you walk along the harbor, this beautiful, rustic heart sculpture welcomes you with a bench, where you can sit and look through the heart to the ocean.
Stepping closer reveals hundreds of padlocks, many with sweet inscriptions celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, or loved ones.
When the sculpture was first finished, there were just a few lonely locks (Can you tell in the pictures above?). Time and passersby have added to the color and personality. Next trip, I plan to add my own lock 🔏. If you visit Oceanside, maybe you’d like to add yours, too. Who knows how time and the salt air will add to this living sculpture.
📚 BOOK REVIEW: There’s No Coming Back From This
I downloaded an advance reader copy of ‘There’s No Coming Back From This’ by Ann Garvin, right before we were to fly to Indiana for two weeks. Although Ann is a USA Today bestselling author, this was my maiden ‘Ann Garvin’ voyage.
I admit I was a little skeptical…not a summer romance, not an historical fiction (which I also love)…it’s a contemporary story of a single mom who loses everything to a crooked accountant…
I ended up reading into the wee hours…which is my way of saying “this book is good.”
Here are a few snippets, to give you some clues, without giving it all away.
Poppy Lively, a single mom with a soon-to-be-college student daughter, had been running a coupon mailer business in Wisconsin. It turns out, her trusted accountant wasn’t really to be trusted. She emptied Poppy’s accounts and disappeared.
Poppy is about to lose her home and the IRS is after her. When an old flame, who is now a Hollywood producer, offers her a job in costumes on the set at Universal Studios, she packs her bags and heads to Los Angeles.
Poppy discovers that life in Hollywood is a lot different than the Midwest and ‘trust’ is an uncommon word among the people on the set.
When she uncovers corruption on the set, she has to decide whether to risk the job that she so desperately needs or just keep her mouth shut. She finds unusual allies in an iconic star and a scruffy dog named Kevin.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ I’ve given this book a 4 out of 5 stars. Ann Garvin tackles some tough subjects with a wonderful sense of humor. If you read the book, I hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments. And if you have read any of her other books, I’d love to know which one to read next!
It has been a long, hot summer 🌞 in Arizona (and other places, too). This little video just kind of says how I feel about getting rain:
💭 WHAT DO YOU THINK?
After 21 Club is just one month old. 👶 Still a baby. Still wandering along the path to crawl, walk, run. What would you like to read? How would you like to participate in this community? I am an open book with a blank page…
Whatever your generation, if you’d like a little sweet retreat where Friday meets you on the way to little pleasures…..I hope you will Subscribe to After 21 Club. You’ll get a little treat in your Inbox each Friday.
Wherever you are, I hope life is sunny. 🌞❤ Heather
💡 Your Ideas Are the Best
I’m still trying to learn what topics you’d like to read about. I’d love to hear any and all suggestions. I’m considering occasionally including something a little more serious for us to talk about together. What do you think?
Special thanks to those of you who are subscribing to After 21 Club. After 2 years writing Kindness Magnet (and still going), I’m excited to start this community of generations. I hope it’s a place where we can come together to share ideas and recommendations for leading happy lives. Please invite your friends to join us.